Underlying Motivations for Avoiding Intimacy

If you have the Intimacy-Avoiding Pattern, it means that you block yourself from having the intimacy you want in a love relationship. This is often because of unconscious (or subconscious) fears. Here is a list of common underlying fears and other motivations that prevent closeness. Which might apply to you?

Fear of Harm

  • I am afraid of being judged if I am open to my partner.
  • I am afraid of being shamed if I am open to my partner.
  • I am afraid of trusting my partner and then being betrayed.
  • If I am open and vulnerable with my partner, I am afraid of being used or exploited.
  • If I let myself be in an intimate relationship, I am afraid of being yelled at or hit.
  • If I am open to my partner, I am afraid of being intruded on, smothered, or violated.
  • If I let myself be close to my partner, I am afraid of being controlled and dominated.
  • Fear of Rejection
  • I am afraid of being abandoned if I let myself care deeply about my partner.
  • I am afraid of reaching out and being rejected by my partner.
  • I am afraid of being dismissed, discounted, or not valued by my partner.

Fear of Vulnerability 

  • I am afraid of opening up my needs and being shamed by my partner for having them.
  • I am afraid of opening up my needs and finding that they are too intense and painful for me to handle.
  • Fear of Losing Myself
  • I am afraid of trying to please my partner to the detriment of my own needs or even losing touch with my needs.
  • I am afraid of becoming so dependent on my partner that I would need him or her all the time and would get upset if he or she wasn’t available.
  • I am afraid of feeling obligated to my partner and feeling that I must take care of him or her and ignore my own needs.

Fear of Partner’s Pain 

  • I am afraid that if I am close to my partner, I will be flooded with his or her pain.

Distancing in the Service of Anger 

  • I create distance from my partner as a way of indirectly expressing anger at him or her

Belief in Distancing 

  • I believe that it is right and appropriate to have a relationship where the people are independent and don’t need each other, and this has led me to be distant.

Opposition to Parents’ Relationship 

  • My mother (or father) was so compliant and dependent that she (he) was a doormat and never developed as a person. I swore that I would never be like that, so I went to the opposite extreme and avoided intimacy altogether.